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SC slams minister over failure to fix ailing health sector

LAHORE: Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique came in for a lot of flak from the Supreme Court on Saturday for pleading for more time and cooperation to improve healthcare facilities at public sector hospitals in the province.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed a bench of the apex court, observed that the courts extended every possible cooperation to [the executive]. Which is why he pays visits to health facilities, but “your people raise objections,” he told the health minister during hearing of a suo motu case related to lack of proper healthcare facilities in the provincial capital at the apex court’s Lahore registry.

The chief justice also expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the provincial health secretary and asked him where had he been serving before being appointed as heath secretary.

The secretary told the judges that he was transferred from Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (QASP) to the health department, to which Justice Nisar remarked the project was heading towards deficit and asked him how much loss it had to bear because of him.

Upon this, the secretary said the QASP project was proving to be of much benefit. “We know how much loss and profit it is making.”

The health secretary informed that Wazirabad and Arifwala heath facilities have been made operational.

Justice Nisar observed that the Wazirabad hospital project suffered delays because it was initiated by former Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi.

He asked the secretary, “Tell your political bosses to do something for welfare of the public.”

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